Located in the former backstage area of the historic Fox Theatre, The Lounge 22 is an intimate space dressed up with vintage design elements such as French beverage posters, historic photos of Redlands, and ornate crystal chandeliers. Daily specials and names of local purveyors are scribbled onto a blackboard salvaged from a 1920s schoolhouse, while tables are topped with candles and fresh flowers. A laid-back lounge is tucked to one side, and a sidewalk patio is shaded by a red awning.
Running the kitchen is 29-year-old chef Jonathon Wiener, who cooked at Napa Valley’s Domaine Chandon and apprenticed at Alinea in Chicago. Here, he tweaks familiar ingredients in unexpected ways, authoring a versatile menu that changes seasonally. Shareable snacks range from mixed olives to a pair of surprisingly light gougères (cheese puffs), which are topped with creamy Mornay sauce and tiny chunks of house-cured bacon. An alternative to the usual fries are battered, deep-fried portobello spears, delivered in a small metal pail with truffle aioli for dipping.